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Hero. Legend. Good Bloke.
John Peel OBE, 1939 - 2004

Red Lick Records



Voice of The Blues
(Blues & Gospel of the African American)

May we introduce to you: A mammoth series of Blues CDs comprising selections of the finest performances with the best sound available today!   First two CDs available now (see below).

PART 1: 1892-1943

This is a projected series of 50 CDs! (A similar series of acoustic blues in the post-war period 1944-1970s is also planned some time further down the line).

Initially to be issued in sets of 5 CDs, these CDs are offered to buyers at six pounds (6 Sterling) per CD. There will also be two 5-CD sets for connoisseurs with an extensive booklet, transcriptions of lyrics, more pictures, etc. produced in a vintage setting -- (date of issue TBA) - an essential set for serious collectors.

Our aim is to feature one title (generally) by each artist. Normally containing around 23 sides on each CD  covering some 1,150 recordings, we have tried to select the finest performances in the best sound available today. But on odd occasions an unavoidable `noisy' side may be included. This will probably indicate the rarity of the original 78 (it's this copy or nothing!) or the title's inclusion as of relevant importance to some other material on a given CD.

By only using one title per artist on these CDs we are hoping to engage the interest of newcomers to Blues and Gospel to dig deeper into further recordings by any performer who 'speaks' to them or they otherwise enjoy.

This major project intends to cover the waterfront. So not only out and out rural styles but examples of hokum, vaudeville-blues, 'pre-blues', and of course gospel are included. And one other important addition to our criteria in this series is not to include all the very best in the earliest issues. It is intended to spread them out so that arguably CD 50 will contain as much highest quality blues and gospel as CD 1.

The following passage from one of the first books on the Blues serves as an introduction to this new series. In 1959 radical, black writer the late Richard Wright, said in the Foreword of Paul Oliver's seminal book 'Blues Fell This Morning': "The blues are fantastically paradoxical and, by all logical and historical odds, they ought not to have come into being. I'm absolutely certain that no one predicted their advent. If I may indulge in an imaginative flight, I can hear a white Christian Virginian planter say, in 1623, debating thus with his conscience while examining a batch of the first slaves brought from Africa: `Now, these black animals have human form, but they are not really human, for God would not have made men to look like that. So, I'm free to buy them and work them on my tobacco plantation without incurring the wrath of God. Moreover, these odd black creatures will die early in our harsh climate and will leave no record behind of any possible sufferings that they might undergo. Yes, I'll buy five of these to be used as slaves... " As Wright added: "But that mythical Virginian planter would have been tragically deluded." (See footnote

Here in the 21st Century we can certainly testify to that last sentence. The Blues have never been so internationally popular or influential as they are at this time. But even so, it seems the earlier forms have not come in from the edges of society where they have resided since their popularly believed birth sometime in the last two decades of the 19th. Century. Part of this project is to attempt to alter that situation.

What is so awesome about the Blues is that performances of such stark beauty, haunting vocals, and sometimes off-the-planet accompaniments should be the result of so much horror, degradation, and atrocities which were the hallmarks of the perpetuation of slavery - or the 'peculiar institution' as it was often known. This applies to many recordings by some vaudeville-blues artists as well as singers in the gospel genre. The Blues is first and foremost a SURVIVAL entity - more than just another music, but a way of life. As one elderly black singer in the 1980s put it "Blues is the voice of the soul".

We hope you will enjoy this new venture, as we are excited about creating it.

'Mississippi Max', 'Hellhound Rex' & 'Earlyblues Al'

Initial CDs Volume 1 and Volume 2 available now at 6 each + 1 postage:

 Copyright 2008 Max Haymes, Rex Haymes & Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

 Copyright 2008 Max Haymes, Rex Haymes & Alan White. All Rights Reserved.



To order your copy of Voice of The Blues email: alan.white@earlyblues.com

Thank you for your interest in the Voice of the Blues series.

Note from Alan:
The picture on volume 1 (above) is from a photograph I took of the beautiful old wooden road bridge in Edwards, Mississippi in September 2006, just weeks before it was demolished to be replaced by a new concrete bridge. I returned in May 2008 and here is a photo of the replacement bridge:

 Copyright 2008 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.
It's just not the same!


'Blues Fell This Morning', Author Paul Oliver. Foreword by Richard Wright. [Cambridge University Press] Rev. ed..
1990. 1st. pub. by Cassell & Co. London. 1960
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